© 2016 by Fish Right, Eat Right.

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The Belize Fisheries Department's mission statement is“To provide the country and the people of Belize with the best possible management of aquatic and fisheries resources with a view to optimize the present and future benefits through efficient and sustainable management”. As such the below laws have been set in place to protect our valuable marine resources. 

 


CORAL:

  • It is illegal for any person to take, buy, sell or have in his possession any type of coral. An exception is made in the case of Black Coral (order ANTIPATHARIA) which may only be bought, sold or exported with a license from the Fisheries Administrator.

 

BONEFISH, TARPON, PERMIT:

  •  It is illegal to have in possession any Bonefish (Albula vulpes), Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) and Permit Fish (Trachinotus falcatus). These species are protected and are for catch & release purpose only (Sport Fishing).

 

CONCH (Strombus gigas):

SEASON CLOSED: 1st July - 30th September 

RESTRICTIONS:

  • Shell length should exceed 7 inches.

  • Market clean and fillet weight should exceed 3 and 2.75 ounces respectively.

  • No person or establishment shall buy, sell or have in possession diced conch meat other than market clean conch.

LOBSTER: (Panulirus argus):

SEASON CLOSED: 15th February to 14th June  

RESTRICTIONS​:

  • Minimum carapace length is 3 inches.

  • Minimum tail weight is 4 ounces.

  • No person or establishment should have in possession fillet or diced lobster tail.

  • It is illegal to have in possession any soft shell lobster or females with eggs (berried).

  • It is illegal to remove from any female lobster any eggs or spawn or the setae or fibre to which any eggs or spawn are or have been attached.


HICATEE (Dermatemys mawii):  

SEASON CLOSED: 1st May to 31st May

 

 

RESTRICTIONS​

No person shall:

  • Have in possession more than 3 turtles or transport on any vehicle more than 5 such turtles.

  • Fish for female Hicatee that is greater than 17.2 inches (43 cm) and smaller than 15.2 inches (38 cm).

  • It is illegal to have in possession any Hicatee Net.

MARINE TURTLE

  • All species of Marine Turtles are protected.

  • No person should interfere with any turtle nest.

  • It is illegal to have in possession any marine turtle or its products.

  • No person shall buy, sell or have in his possession any articles made of turtle shell.

 

NASSAU GROUPER (Epinephelus striatus):

SEASON CLOSED: 1st December and 31st March of the following year.

RESTRICTIONS​:

  • No person shall take, buy, sell or have in his possession any Nassau Grouper which is less than 20 inches and greater than 30 inches in total length.

  • All Nassau Groupers are to be landed as whole fish.

GRAZERS

  • No person shall take in the waters of Belize, buy, sell or have in his possession any grazer: Scaridae Family, including genus Scarus and Sparisoma and any fish of the Acanthuridae  Family, commonly known as parrot fish and Tangs.

 FISH FILLET

  • All fish landed as fish fillet shall have a skin patch of at least 2 inches by 1 inch.


SEA CUCUMBER (Holothuria Mexicana):

  • Closed season: July 1st to December 31st. (CURRENTLY UNDER MORATORIUM) 

  • Fishing for Sea Cucumber is only permitted with a special permit issued by the Fisheries Administrator in designated areas and approved quota.

SHARKS

  • No shark of the species Rhincodon typus commonly known as Whale Shark, as well as the Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) shall be caught or killed in the waters of Belize (Species are Protected)

  • Fishing for any other non-protected shark species can only be done with a special license issued by the Fisheries Administrator.

  • All sharks shall be landed with the fins attached.

 

WHELKS (WEST INDIAN TOP SHELL)

  • No person shall fish Whelks without a special license issued by the Fisheries Administrator.

  • The legal size limit is 2.44 inches (62 mm) in diameter and ALL whelk shell shall be landed with meat.

  • Closed season is from January 2nd to September 30th.

 

TRAWLING

  • Trawling within the waters of Belize is prohibited.


TRAPS

  • No person shall set traps outside the reef or within 300 feet from the barrier reef. All Traps must be registered. All Lobster Traps must be removed during lobster closed season.


NETS & PROHIBITED GEAR

  • No setting of nets wires, beach seines within 2 miles   radius of the Mouth of the Haulover Creek, Sibun River, Belize River or half a mile from any city, town, village or inhabited locality in Belize. Minimum mesh size for nets (except cast nets) is 3 inches. Maximum length of net allowed in the waters is 100 meters. No person shall have in his/her possession any net that by itself or joined exceed 300 meters or on board any vessel that exceeds 300 meters (at Sea) or 200 meters (Rivers, Creeks). No person shall close off a channel, passage, entrance, or small embayment of water with any fishing device in such manner as to restrict the free passage of boats or to wholly prevent the passage of fish. All nets must be registered. 

  • No spear fishing within Marine Reserves. No fishing without a valid Fisher folk or Fishing Vessel License. All vessels and Fisher folk License expire on the 31st of December. No one should fish using scuba gear except under special license from the Fisheries Administrator.  Person wishing to export seafood must apply for a Seafood Export Permit at the Fisheries Department.  Infractions shall result in fines, penalties and or incarceration. 

Belize Fisheries Regulations: